Max Dean

Born in Leeds, UK, 1949.
Lives and works in Toronto

In 2009 I created a sculpture, Waiting for the Tooth Fairy, that pushed me to reveal personal narratives that had always been camouflaged through my work. In the Objects Waiting photos you can see these two sides: the cool conceptual pieces which are the "objects waiting" – my things beautifully composed, lit and printed; and the "objects acted," where I interact, feel the objects, pull out what the object means to me.

Objects wait; they wait for us to interact with them. We impart meaning, not in the things but in our selves; the objects can represent our feelings, they often become fetishes. The criterion for a successful photo was that I could give away the object; what I felt about it had been expressed, had found form just as I had found some understanding about my relationship to my mother in the Tooth Fairy. I later wanted to take the photos further and say what and how I felt. I wanted to see if I could invest these objects – the photographs – with the feelings I had for the things. Ironically the photographs remain to the viewer as objects waiting. I could not have made these photographs without having made Waiting for the Tooth Fairy. Maybe this is how it works, the preceding work giving permission to go beyond. A wave is very hard to stop.

Chair without Front Legs 2010
From Objects Waiting
chromogenic print
50.9 × 40.6 cm
Purchased 2012
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 exhibition catalogue
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa